Associated radiation exposure from medical imaging and excess lifetime risk of developing cancer in pediatric patients with pulmonary hypertension

Malini Mahendra, Philip Chu, Elena K. Amin, Hythem Nawaytou, James R. Duncan, Jeffrey R. Fineman, Rebecca Smith-Bindman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Pediatric patients with pulmonary hypertension (PH) receive imaging studies that use ionizing radiation (radiation) such as computed tomography (CT) and cardiac catheterization to guide clinical care. Radiation exposure is associated with increased cancer risk. It is unknown how much radiation pediatric PH patients receive. The objective of this study is to quantify radiation received from imaging and compute associated lifetime cancer risks for pediatric patients with PH. Electronic health records between 2012 and 2022 were reviewed and radiation dose data were extracted. Organ doses were estimated using Monte Carlo modeling. Cancer risks for each patient were calculated from accumulated exposures using National Cancer Institute tools. Two hundred and forty-nine patients with PH comprised the study cohort; 97% of patients had pulmonary arterial hypertension, PH due to left heart disease, or PH due to chronic lung disease. Mean age at the time of the first imaging study was 2.5 years (standard deviation [SD] = 4.9 years). Patients underwent a mean of 12 studies per patient per year, SD = 32. Most (90%) exams were done in children <5 years of age. Radiation from CT and cardiac catheterization accounted for 88% of the total radiation dose received. Cumulative mean effective dose was 19 mSv per patient (SD = 30). Radiation dose exposure resulted in a mean increased estimated lifetime cancer risk of 7.6% (90% uncertainty interval 3.0%−14.2%) in females and 2.8% (1.2%−5.3%) in males. Careful consideration for the need of radiation-based imaging studies is warranted, especially in the youngest of children.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere12282
JournalPulmonary Circulation
Volume13
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2023

Keywords

  • bronchopulmonary dysplasia
  • cancer risk
  • congenital heart disease
  • pulmonary hypertension

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